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Pleasant Surprise (Sort of)
Last night we watched the DVD of Dredd.

Now, I am not a big Judge Dredd fan or even, damn it, a big 2000AD fan, and the film Judge Dredd, despite featuring the perfect casting of Stallone's jaw, was, to be frank, boring.

So I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. Admittedly, the helmet really does make it impossible to either act or gain sympathy, and Karl Urban, whose only really decent performance I have seen is channelling DeForest Kelley in Star Trek (2009) - I hardly noticed his presence in Into Darkness - is not a stong enough actor to overcome those handicaps, but you don't really need to sympathise with Dredd when you have Anderson (I just had to retype this sentence to avoid spoilers) along. Olivia Thirlby does a nice job of vulnerability becoming kickass.

As you don't care much about anyone, with the exception of Anderson, and if you know a bit about the comics, this just becomes a lot of (very enjoyable) bangs and blood. There was some nice laughs in there too. Of course, it was rated R in the States and 18 here because of all the rather explicit killing but, to be honest, there was nothing at all harrowing about it.

You know, if this hadn't been billed as a comic book movie, it might have got some of the more arthouse types more excited by its portrayal of a dystopian future city and its ultra-stylistic violence. The photography was nice, but Megacity is really worldbuilding 101 - nothing much to see here, not a lot of thought, move along there.

And it had some other virtues; it was short, it didn't aspire to a 'message', and the director (officially Pete Travis though there were, apparently 'difficulties' and rumour hath it he was kicked out of the editing room by screenwriter Alex Garland) did not go in for these over long and repetitive fight sequences which have marred so many movies recently (including, but not limited to Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and The Dark Knight (and, by repute, The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel)

Three and half stars out of five. Good fun.

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We really liked it. The marquis was a 2000AD fan, back in the day, and he rated it for feel, accuracy and structure. I thought it was a lot of fun.

It is deeply unfair that it was one of last year's biggest financial flops - though the 18/R certificate and making it in 3D probably didn't help.

The Stallone film was, to be frank, total shite. But then I was a regular 2000AD reader who loved the Dredd strip and not least for the way it could variously endorse or subvert the ostensible heroism of its leading character. Dredd could flip from hero to villain at the turn of a page.

I didn't feel too enthused about the Urban movie, since I gather it's junked all of the wacky oddball elements that were so integral to the strip to concentrate on the gritty urban violence. But Dredd's world is a big one, so you can hardly expect to fit it all in one movie.

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